Russian energy companies leave Egypt

Jan. 31, 2011 at 9:40 AM

CAIRO, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- With unrest in Egypt entering its second week, Russian energy companies operating in the country are withdrawing staff members, a source said.

Egyptian fighter jets flew low over crowds of protesters during the weekend. Opposition supporters are frustrated with the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who last week replaced much of his government in response to the political crisis.

A source in Cairo told Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti that independent oil company LUKoil and private natural gas producer Novatek pulled staff members out of the country.

LUKoil has several operations in Egypt, including a major oil development along the Red Sea coast. Novatek operates through a joint venture with Egyptian energy company Sarva to develop gas reserves in the north of the country.

U.S. energy company Apache Corp. announced last week that its operations in Egypt weren't affected by the unrest.

The Suez Canal is a major shipping lane for natural resources from the Middle East. Investment analysts told The Wall Street Journal any spill over from the Egyptian crisis could have a ripple effect in the energy market.

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